Two individuals from Arizona face serious charges for their involvement in a crypto investment scheme. Luis Ortega, 42, of Litchfield Park, and Jeremie Sowerby, 45, of Fountain Hills, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Phoenix.
The indictment includes a total of 55 counts, encompassing charges of Wire Fraud and Transactional Money Laundering.
Arizona Crypto Scammers Charged
Ortega and Sowerby are accused of defrauding hundreds of victims through a sophisticated crypto scam. Subsequently leading to the loss of millions of dollars. Indeed, the operation utilized three separate entities to market various investment opportunities, each promising substantial and immediate returns.
The first entity, Now Mining, offered “risk-free” investments in leases of Bitcoin mining machines supposedly located overseas. The second entity, VIP Mining, involved direct investments in Bitcoin mining machines in Arizona.
Finally, the third entity, a real estate and technology company, lured investors with the opportunity to purchase custom-built container houses using a proprietary cryptocurrency called “Millennium.”
Read more: 15 Most Common Crypto Scams To Look Out For
However, the entire operation was a crypto scam. The promises of lavish giveaways and easy profits were baseless, serving only to funnel investor funds into bank accounts controlled by Ortega and Sowerby. The duo allegedly used these funds for personal expenditures, including property purchases, a new vehicle, and significant cash withdrawals.
The legal ramifications for these charges are severe. A wire fraud conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Similarly, transactional money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
It is important to note that an indictment is only a method for charging a person with criminal activity and does not imply guilt. The court presumes Ortega and Sowerby innocent until a legal process proves them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, is responsible for the prosecution.
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